Day 12 – Lets get the heck outa Dodge

Lets get the heck outa Dodge!

Let's get the heck outa Dodge!

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Day 9 – Hot Springs, AR

Hot Springs AR

Hot Springs AR

I sure am glad we made the extra push to stay the night in Hot Springs, Arkansas, this place is the coolest town we’ve been through yet. (this will be a theme from here on out, throw my plans based on the squiggliest roads on the map and distance out the window and listen to the locals as we go) Hot Springs sorta has the feel of Durango and other old Colorado towns, lots of old fancy historic stone hotels and bathhouses were everywhere and the main streets anyway had nice landscaping and were well manicured. It also felt a few degrees cooler with the shaded valleys and trees, I dont know how high up we were.

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Day 7 – Into the bayou

Breaking Camp

Breaking Camp

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Day 6 – Lifes a beach

Motorcycle Sunrise from the tent

Motorcycle Sunrise from the tent

Relaxation. Theres nothing quite like camping out on the shore and waking up to a beautiful sunrise with the sound of waves lapping on the rocks with absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to be for the day. Our plans for the day: Fishing, Relaxing, and resting from the road.

We slept good but it wasn’t quite as peaceful as we had hoped. Once the sun went down the frogs started up. Right away I thought Uh-oh I hope these don’t keep us up all night. Cece said she liked the frogs singing us to sleep. That was until 3AM when they went ballistic and were suddenly about twice as loud. They all just went crazy. Cece woke up too, “I don’t like them anymore, make them stop…” I couldn’t help but laugh. The second night I figured out that 3AM was the time the moon came up over the tree line, triggering the frogs to really crank it up.

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Day 5 – Happy 100th

Loves Lookout

Love's Lookout

Its amazing to see pine trees everywhere in east Texas with myrtles in bloom interspersed among them. It seems unnatural. For me, I’m used to pines being a high altitude cold climate tree and myrtles only growing in the low lying flats with scorching heat. Complete polar opposites, but here everywhere along the road you see splashes of color reds and pinks of wild myrtles amongst the pines.

We were told to look out for a mountain watch tower where there was a nice scenic rest area where you could see all across east Texas for miles and get a better feel for the area. We kept an eye out for it and eventually came to a Mt. Selman Texas without seeing any sign of a mountain at all. Looking on the Google topographical map view of the area later its just a ridge thats a whopping 400 ft higher than the valleys to the east. I guess if 400 ft classifies a genuine mountain we have a lot of names to change back home.

A little ways past Mt Selman we found Loves Lookout. This place was amazing! By far the nicest rest stop I’d ever seen, thanks for the tip Terry. The landscaping was pretty spectacular, it looked more like a garden park instead of a roadside restroom. They had very nice bathrooms, free cold bottled water, pamphlets and info on touristy things to do and even had wifi. Quite a change from NM rest stops where you are lucky to even have running water or a bathroom at all.

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Day 4 (cont) – Terry and Wanda’s

Cece and Lil Bit

Cece and Lil Bit

After our little adventure in the bog we desperately needed a drink. The big box of Emergen-C
packets we bought has turned out to be a wise investment, all you need is some cold water and instant tangerine fizzy drink. Its easy to find a water fountain somewhere or just run the faucet in the bathroom a while for some cold water, the packets are small enough to easily stash nearly anywhere without taking up valuable storage space and they just plain taste good. I used to use this stuff quite a bit when I was cycling and doing track and cross country in high school, when you’re exhausted from a workout it really works to help you recover and rehydrate. This one box we bought will probably last the whole trip and only cost $10, way cheaper than 2-4 gatoraids a day X 14 days. I love that they have many flavors available now and not just the generic lemony citrus kind they used to.

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Day 4 – Lizards, spiders and snakes, oh my!

Goin through the big D

Goin through the big D

Ok, so we didnt see man eating plants, but I was excited to unexpectedly get to see a carnivorous plant bog at the East Texas Arboretum. Cool! how many people get to see those in the wild.

Traffic was not so bad in the city early on a weekend, but I did end up getting turned around (I thought) and took a wrong turn. From my directions I was supposed to take I35 to I30, seems simple enough. I saw the sign for I30 and merged, then quickly 200 feet away theres another turn for I30, what the? So I took the second turn also and suddenly we’re going north east. Well this cant be right, now we’re going the wrong way, we need to be going south… I thought I’d somehow made a big circle and ended up on the wrong direction of I30.

So just a few miles down the road I’m already lost and had to pull over to look at the map. I was going the right way after all, who designed this mess? At least it allowed us to get a few Dallas skyscraper pictures before we hauled tail out of town.

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Day 3 – Texan Blast Furnace

We made it to Patricks House

Not many pics today, it was just too dang hot and we had too far to go. It was rather uneventful and boring anyway. By 10:00 it was already in the high 90’s and only getting hotter. Every time we stopped I downed an entire large gatoraide and my eyes were just killing me. The best I can describe riding across west Texas is try putting on a jacket and ski pants with a hair dryer up each limb and one pointed at your face and turn on high. I’m thankful I had the foresight to pack a bottle of visine.

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Day 2 – Goin Down

Today was another short day so we took the scenic route and played tourist. From 8200 ft and 74 degrees in Cloudcroft to 3200 ft and 107 degrees in Seminole, quite a change in scenery.

We took highway 244 through the Rez to Cloudcroft. This road is amazing, I’m jealous that my dad has some of the best roads I’ve ever ridden just 15 mins from the house. Lots of sweepers down valleys with lots of tall spruce and fir with wispy spanish moss hanging from the branches, some good twisties and climbs, this road has it all. We will definitely have to come back this way during the Golden Aspen Rally in the fall.

In one of the meadows we cruised through was a golden eagle sitting on a rock in the tall grass not 5 feet from the roadway. It didn’t fly away or anything, it just watched us rumble past, an eerie feeling, like a guardian spirit checking us out as we enter holy ground. Yesterday was the buffalo, today an eagle. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

We stopped by The Lodge in Cloudcroft to take a few pictures. It looks like they could use a paint job again. From here the landscape changes quickly, about every 5 miles the climate changes. First its alpine spruce and fir wilderness and looks very similar to the rain forrests of Oregon I went through once. Then you drop back into ponderosa pines, then pinions, then junipers and finally cactus and dessert all in about 30 mins of riding.

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And We’re Off – Cece and Tim’s epic Journey

And we’re off! Over a year of dreaming about living on the road for several weeks and exploring this great country of ours by motorcycle and the time has finally come. We’ve learned a lot from the quick 2K mile spring run to Dino’s about packing and pacing. This time we’ll be fully equipped to camp and fish along the way and do this on the cheap. We’ll see how long that idea lasts.

One of my dreams is to go through the Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, so why are we riding through the south in July, where it’s bound to be 100+ degrees and way high humidity the whole way? Well its Cece’s great grandmother’s 100th birthday and those dont come arround too often. Glacier and Yellowstone will still be there next year if global warming doesn’t get too out of control by then.

We plan to hit 8 states in 12 days and judging by Google Maps about 3600 miles not accounting for the side trips and running arround we’ll do. I think we’re prepared for everything. I have enough tools to completely strip down the bike if need be, med kit, camping and cook gear, and maybe the kitchen sink somewhere packed on the bike. So much for those weight limits, I think we’re just a tad over heh, and amazingly with the new intakes and pipes the new 40 horses feel as peppy as ever loaded down. I can already see myself looking back on this years later, “I remember when we used to tour the country 2 up and fully loaded down on a little 650.”

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